This sounds logical and simple, but as I said before in a prior post, running is not purely physical. That mental barrier of not being what you once were and having to work hard to achieve goals that you previously achieved is more difficult than achieving them the first time, I think. The mind has to be put over the matter and you have to conclude that your body is capable. Right now, my body may be capable, but my mind is fearful.
Running at my previous pace was easier for me before and rather than quit, I am going to ease both my body and my mind back into running. I could push it. I could push hard and make that pace, but it would take a lot of physical push and not feel like it did before. I would likely end up disappointed that it was so hard, when prior I could run longer at the same pace without such exertion. That disappointment would potentially lead to not wanting to endure the next run.
Easing myself back in gives me the satisfaction of improving and getting stronger with each run. It also gives me the satisfaction of going the distance and building muscle memory. The speed will come naturally with it and likely quicker than it did the first time (hopefully). There will be moments I push myself too, don't get me wrong. Pushing it all at once is not the way for me to stay in for long term though. Pushing all at once leads me to quit or back down.
Today marks the day I take control and take myself on a journey to break past any and all barriers to achieving my previous pace and beyond. Slow and steady and no quitting is my strategy. I am all in for long term. I want to be healthier as I approach 40 than I was at 20. Sitting and pining over what I used to be capable of won't get me there ;).